'Quality' by John Galsworthy is indeed the story of Mr. Gessler's triumph over crushing adversities. Discuss.
Mr. Gessler is a German shoemaker who makes quality boots in London around the turn of the twentieth century. He buys the best leather and handcrafts the boots himself. But he can't make ends meet. Competitors advertise, which the Gesslers do not. People buy the lower-quality boots from other sellers, who more aggressively market. Mr. Gessler, however, refuses to compromise. He makes his boots the old-fashioned, high-quality way. He slowly starves to death, works night and day, and sometimes goes without a fire.
These are crushing adversities, and in the end, they kill Mr. Gessler. However, he triumphs in that he never compromises quality. His craft comes before his profit. He holds onto his integrity by doing his work in the old-fashioned way, the best way.
The story can be understood in the context of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. Morris argued in favor of craftsmen. As factory-made goods displaced what was handcrafted, workers became alienated from their work. After all, rather than handcrafting items, they were simply running the machines that made them—but advertising allowed these inferior products to sell. This story criticizes a society that puts hype and profit ahead of quality workmanship. It implies that better supports were needed for people like Mr. Gessler, if only in the form of people noticing and buying from him, and mourns the passing of such craftsmen.